JERUSALEM, Israel – In the 14 months following the signing of the Abraham Accords, relations between Israel and many of its Arab neighbors are flourishing. Several world leaders are surprised over the dramatic progress.
In one of the latest signs of cooperation, Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a joint venture to send an unmanned vehicle to the moon by 2024. That followed a surprise visit last month during a multi-national military exercise – when the commander of the UAE air force met with his Israeli counterpart.
On the commercial front, this Israeli Expo in Abu Dhabi is another sign of success resulting from the historic peace agreement.
“It’s been amazing the progress,” said best-selling author and Mideast analyst Joel Rosenberg. “We’ve been watching business deals to be developed, tourism deals. We’re seeing, The Jerusalem Post forming a media alliance with an Emirati newspaper and TV company. We’re seeing Israeli airlines open up direct routes to Arab countries – the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco. We’re seeing Moroccan and Emirati and Bahraini airlines flying direct routes into Israel.”
Rosenberg chronicles the creation and progress of the accords in his latest book, Allies and Enemies. CBN News has followed Rosenberg as he’s organized delegations of evangelical leaders to meet with Arab heads of state.
“I’ve sat with them. I’ve listened to them,” said Rosenberg. “The Arab leaders are very, very excited, not just [about] what’s [happened] in the last year and a few months, but where this is going.”
Click below to watch CBN News’ full interview with Joel Rosenberg
One of the agreement’s architects, Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, tells CBN News he sees a bright future for the Abraham Accords.
“I think this changed history. I don’t think it’s going to go back. I think the people of these nations can see that this is the rightful Jewish homeland. It ought to be recognized as such,” said Pompeo. “It’s not good foreign policy to have the destruction of Israel at the center of how you think about the world. And the commerce, the trade, the defense work that will be done between these nations will create prosperity for people in every one of them. And I think that’s why ultimately there’ll be many other nations that will see this as both right and righteous.”
In Israel, what began under the Netanyahu government is continuing with aggressive pursuit by the coalition of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Still, a lingering concern is whether the Biden administration will invest the political capital and diplomatic muscle to advance the accords.
A recent trilateral meeting between the US, UAE, and Israel led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggests a positive direction.
“Today, our three countries discussed two new working groups that we are launching together. The first is on religious coexistence. This is a moment of rising anti-Semitism, rising Islamophobia, and we want Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States to work together to build tolerance and ensure that all religious groups can worship in their traditional ways without violence, without intimidation, without discrimination,” said Blinken.
Another remaining question one year into the accords is will Saudi Arabia, the largest and most influential Sunni Arab nation will take steps to join.
“I believe the Saudis are weighing [this] right now at the highest levels. Is it in their national interests to make peace with Israel?” Rosenberg said. “The Saudis are moving towards normalization, but they’re not there yet. And I think there’s going to be a lot of reporting we still need to do. But when that happens, if it happens, I think it will. My prediction on CBN News is I think the Saudis are going to make that decision that it is in their national interests.”
Overshadowing the success of any peace effort remains the specter of a nuclear Iran. On Nov. 29 the US and the other nations that signed the original Iranian nuclear deal in 2015 are scheduled to resume negotiations.
Danny Danon, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, calls it a “bad deal.”
Danon added, “I hope the United States will not make this mistake again. And look what’s happened in the past six years. They enriched more uranium, they developed ballistic missile technology. They’re spending billions of dollars on their proxies.”
Rosenberg says Iran’s influence on the region is also dangerous. “You not only have the Iran threat, but Iran forming an alliance with Russia and Turkey and North Korea and China,” he explained.
From most accounts, the report card on year one of the Abraham Accords reflects a substantial transformation in the region. While the signing members seem resilient, it’s almost certain Middle East opponents of these agreements will test their resolve.